Onder de titel ‘Songs of faith’ zijn 38 gedichten van Willem de Mérode vertaald naar het Engels. De vertaling is uitgevoerd door 38 gedichten, Hans Osinga ». In december 2010 vertaalde hij ook het gedicht ‘Christophorus‘ en gaf hij toestemming ook deze vertaling te publiceren.
Christophorus had, from early morn,
Worked till evening, as a mule borne
Everybody trough the swollen riverbed.
Now he wanted rest and bread,
But, annoyed, he thought he had none
And it was too late to buy some.
Besides – a ferry without a ferry-man?
Rather some wishy-washy stuff then.
He kicked his boots off; in stockings, in pants
Flung flour and milk into a pan,
Added some onions to make it complete,
Sat down, enjoyed what he’d made to eat.
There rang the bell from the other side;
Grumbling impatiently, looking outside,
Christophorus, expecting this least of all,
There watched a little man, so lonely and small,
That in a hurry he pulled on his boots,
Entered the water – it splashed up a foot -,
Spoke very friendly: “ Well, little brother,
Sit like a horseman upon my shoulder,
take my long hair to keep yourself steady.
Sitting well? Steering well? Then we are ready. “
How heavy, though, was the small boy he bore
And the water rose higher than ever before.
Deeper and deeper the boy pressed him down,
His feet felt no bottom; “ We shall drown! “
He called, “ but in God I trust. “ “ Live “ said
The child; you bear God on your head! “
Then, rising up, with his gauging-stick,
He felt ground again, fell ashore with a jerk.
Laughing before him stood, wrapped in light,
The child and asked him: “ Which reward is right? “
“ No, “ said the ferry-man, “ Who bore the world’s Lord
Could have had in his arms no greater reward.
“ Then Jesus spoke: “ Until your death,
In memory of your Lord in distress,
Your name will be Christophorus; your lot
And your life will be borne by God.
Long stood the ferry-man there in wonder,
Shaking his head and pondering yonder,
Entered his house, ate his meal from the pan
and went to sleep a happy man.
Vertaling van Christophorus, gedicht uit de bundel ‘Eenvoudige gedichten’, Libellenserie 117. Geschreven op 12 april 1935. Vertaling door Hans Osinga, 19 december 2010.